The moment Charlie Rangel hasn't been waiting for will come later this afternoon, as the House takes up a resolution to censure the 40-year Harlem lawmaker and dean of the New York House delegation for assorted fundraising and tax violations.
If, as expected, he is centured, the rancorous Rangel -- who recently stormed out of an Ethics Committee hearing on the charges against him -- will face an archaic form of punishment that's not much used these days: a public shaming.
He will have to walk to the well of the House chamber and face House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she reads the charges against him.
It's expected to be a traumatic moment not only for the 80-year-old former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, but also for longtime Democrats who have long supported him.
That being the case, members of the Congressional Black Caucus this afternoon were trying to build up support for a reprimand, a less onerous punishment that would spare Rangel that public shaming.
House sources said it's unlikely, though, that a House majority would seek the lesser punishment.
The House Ethics Committee found that Rangel failed to report 17 years worth of income from a Dominican Republic vacation home. In addition, Rangel used congressional staff and letterheads to solicit funds for a center named after him at City College of New York.
"I am truly sorry for mistakes and would like your help in seeing that I am treated fairly," he wrote in an e-mail to supporters Wednesday, in which he pleaded with them to flood House offices with pleas for leniency.
Censure, the punishment the bipartisan Ethics Committee recommended for Rangel, is a relatively rare House punishment. It was last used in 1983 against Rep. Dan Crane, R-Ill., and Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass., both of whom engaged in sexual relations with teen-age House pages.
(Update: Rangel has been censured.)
-- Jerry Zremski